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History and Approaches
By:Kaia Adams
A. Logic, Philosophy, and
history of science
Psychology is a science because it uses
systematic collections and observations.
It is the study of behavior and the
Dualism refers to the division of the
world and all things in it into body and
Rene Descartes
Hypothesized that the mind and body
interact; and that the mind controls the
body while the body provides the mind
with sensory input for it to decipher. He
believed that this action occurs in the
pineal gland; located at the top of the
brain stem.
John Locke’s school of thought
Is known as empiricism- the acquisition
of truth through observations and
Tabula rasa, “blank slate” is the term
meaning all knowledge that we have
must be learned and derived though
Thomas Hobbes
Believed in materialism-the idea that of
a soul or spirit, or even of a mind is
meaningless; that the only things that
exist are matter and energy.
Charles Darwin’s theory
Natural selection says all creatures
have evolved into their present state
over long periods of time; survival of
the fittest. Evolutionary theory set the
stage for psychology by establishing
behavior as important and observable.
Wilhem Wundt
Known as the “Founder of psychology”
because he initiated the first psychology
laboratory to study consciousness.
Called Wundt’s idea is called
structuralism because it’s concerned
with the structure of the mind and its
William James
William James’ term functionalism is
concerned with how the mind functions
to help us survive and adapt.
Approach 1: Biological
Seeks to understand the interactions
between anatomy and physiology and
This approach is directly applied towards
the portion of the brains involved in a
particular brain process. Researchers
use CAT scans, MRIs, EEGs, and PET
scans to collect data.
Approach 2: Behavioral
Behaviorism is the study of observable
behavior. “In order to understand
human behavior we must take into
account what the environment does to
an organism before and after it
responds. Behavior is shaped and
maintained by its consequences.”
Skinner believes our behavior is controlled
by rewards, or positives reinforcers.
The “Skinner box” presented stimuli to
mice to record operant conditioning, in
which a subject learns that a behavioral
response will have an environmental
outcome. Classical conditioning is a
basic form of learning in which existing
reflex responses come to be elicited by
new stimuli.
Approach 3: Cognitive
The approach to understanding people’s
behavior by understanding people’s
behavior by understanding they think,
(how one construes their environment).
Cognitive behaviorism is the view that
combines cognition and conditioning to
explain a behavior.
Approach 4: Humanistic
Is rooted in the philosophical tradition of
studying the roles of consciousness,
free will, (the ability to make voluntary
choices) and awareness of the human
condition. Maslow proposed the idea of
self-actualization- fully developing
one’s personal potential, acceptions
oneself and knowing your strengths and
Approach 5:
Freud developed a theory of human behavior
known as psychoanalytic theory. He drew a
distinction between consciousness-a mental
state of awareness to which we have ready
access- and the unconscious- those mental
processes to which we do normally have
access. Psychologists have developed further
ideas based on psychoanalytic that are called
Approach 6: Sociocultural
This approach believes that the
environment has a great deal to do with
how a person behaves and how others
perceive that behavior. Cultural values
that vary from society to society must
be taken into account when trying to
understand, predict, or control behavior.